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The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

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Stephansson House, Part Three

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Just outside Markerville is the tiny little farmhouse that was home to one of Alberta's most famous literary characters, the Icelandic poet, Stephan G. Stephansson.

The little home that grew, room by room, dates back to 1889, and was lived in right up to the 1950s.

According to historian Lisa Mort-Putland, one of the more startling and controversial aspects of the restored farmhouse is its colour.

Stephansson House is painted the most beautiful colour of, well, lime-green and sort of a baby pink that is very, very, vibrant. And as you come over the mound of the hill through the trees, you have this astonishing contrast between the Alberta blue sky and this gorgeous little gingerbread house.

And people really have been astonished by it, and question us quite a lot as to whether these are the original colours.

The restoration crew were able to find remnants of the original paint, and they went through the barn, from about 1927, when the barn was built, and sure enough, they found some old cans, and inside one of these cans was the baby pink. And, so, the restoration crew were able to restore it.

The farmhouse itself displays many distinctive features that give it the adorable look of a gingerbread house.

It has scrollwork and floral ornamentation. It has a beautiful little bay window and a covered porch. It also has three lightning rods, and, at a farmhouse that's barely 800 square feet, it didn't make a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, Stephansson's son was killed at a very young age. While crossing a fence, he was struck by lightning. And after he died, Stephan decided that he would never have any hurt by God's wrath again, and he put up lightning rods all though the house.

Following that tragic accident, Stephansson wrote a series of poems as he mourned the loss of his three-year-old son.

Fall is approaching

Frozen hoary

The leaves by the pathways I walk on;

Your feet are unmoving,

Your lips are cold now,

And stiffened your little fingers.

Along here I wander,

No one to pick me

Flowers that grow by the wayside;

Yet I keep hearing

From the rose bushes,

Your baby voice, "Daddy, I'm here!"

Stephan G Stephansson lived in the little house at Markerville until his own death, in 1927.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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